Nissan was promised protection from any Brexit fallout in a 2016 letter from business secretary Greg Clark to Carlos Ghosn, then-chief executive of Nissan.

The British government told the car maker that it would not be “adversely affected” by Brexit, and said it would look after the company if it went ahead with plans to expand operations in Sunderland.

It was previously known that the government had “offered reassurances” to Nissan, sparking concerns over secret deals.

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The correspondence with the business ministry had not been released publicly because it was deemed to be too commercially sensitive

However, on Monday the government published the letter in full

The letter from Mr Clark promised approximately £80m in investment in the Sunderland site in return for Nissan’s pledge to expand SUV production there, as well as “a positive decision by the Nissan board to allocate production of the Qashqai and X-Trail models to the Sunderland plant”.

The letter also said: “The government fully recognises the significance of the EU markets to your presence in Sunderland.

“It will be a critical priority of our negotiations to support UK car manufacturers, and ensure their ability to export to and from the EU is not adversely affected by the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

“A good deal for the UK can also be a good deal for the other member states. As the government has made clear, we continue to believe in liberal markets and free trade. These principles will guide us in the discussions ahead, and we will seek to maintain the closest possible economic relationship between the UK and our European partners.

“In any circumstances, the government will ensure that the UK continues to be one of the most competitive locations for automotive and other advanced manufacturing, within Europe and globally.”

Over the weekend, it emerged that the company plans to move production of the X-Trail back to Japan. The group’s Europe chief, Gianluca de Ficchy, said the decision was partly due to Brexit uncertainty.

“Uncertainty around the UK’s future relationship with the EU is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future,” he added.

The decision is a further blow to the UK car industry, following recent moves by Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and Honda to reduce their workforces and cut costs.

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